Here’s my contribution to Stuff Journalists Like,  a great post on 10,, sparked by:

“Stuff Journalists Like

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I was checking up on Stuff White People Like, the hilarious blog that spawned the equally thought-provoking Stuff Educated Black People Like, when I realized nobody has accounted for the journalists of the world. So here it is, Stuff Journalists Like:”

I added a few:

50. Not doing math 51. Coffee 52. Seeing our name on Page One above the fold in the news box 53. Attaboys 54. Being marginalized 55. Bitching about being marginalized without really BEING marginalized 56. When shitty editors get theirs 57. Lots of inches 58. Hating TV reporters 59. Dating TV reporters 60. The Billy Goat Tavern 61. The local news bar 62. Knowing that what we do is deeply important 63. Complaining about how what we do is deeply important and utterly unappreciated 64. Stickin’ it to The Man 65. Praying to become The Man 66. Regretting not going to law school 67. Regretting not getting their MBA 68. Dreading actually having to get a real job 69. Bitching about how journalism has become a real job 70. Wishing it was like it used to be

Stuff Journalists Like


The news of the death of newspapers is not nearly as greatly exaggerated as I’d like, but let’s just step away from the casket and take a deep, cleansing breath.

Look, I miss it, too. I miss it all. I miss the newsprint and the ink and the quaint idea of above-the-fold. I love being above-the-fold almost as much as I love all that is sacred. Because it was a sacred place. I miss inches. I miss beepers going off at 4 a.m., the siren’s song to a triple homicide.

Okay, I’ve gotta go teach. But I’m going to write all the things I miss about being a big-city metro reporter and then I’m going to let you read the stories below about how it’s all dead, dead, dead and then I’m going to try to make us all feel better because I’m a New Media Mama and it’s still out there for us. Don’t click on the links below yet because it’s just too much right now.

I just needed to store them someplace safe.

Goodbye to Newspapers

“Death of Newspapers “

“With Fewer Watchdogs, You Get Less Barking “ The New Republic

“MSM RIP” The New Republic


I’m a former newspaper reporter now teaching New Media Communications at Oregon State University. My students require an entirely new set of skills and talents than my Gen X peers did when we came up, when “media” was called “journalism” and things made more sense.

Now there’s a whole generation of editors and profs working under a whole new set of rules, trying desperately to hold onto as many of the old values of content, substance, accuracy, fairness, justice and professionalism while learning to Fark and Twitter and Vod and Pod.

This blog is me writing from that tightrope, balancing like we all are, on what feels like a crossroads made of dental floss. The extra trick for me is that this journey of technologizing and socially mediating my media is not one I’m making alone. I actually have to teach students what I know, while I’m learning it. So there it is.

  Like New Media itself, those of us who came up in Old School, big-city newspaper journalism are flailing in transformation. We have a trove of essential journalistic skills. We are diligent and enterprising reporters, skilled and empathic interviewers. We have a hound’s nose for news. We see stories leaping out of the woodwork and we know how to report the hell out of them and make them sing. We can pount out a 1500-word story in 24 minutes that does the readers and sources justice. We demand fairness, balance and accuracy of ourselves and our work.

We still believe deeply in the old saw about afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

We learned on typewriters, moved up to Trash 80s and portabubbles; we transmitted stories through pay phone lines and the raw nerve of deadline dictation. We did not fight technology. No siree. We embraced the newfangled. We boogied and House Partied onto the Internet and got our first e-mail accounts in the 90s. We rode the Information Superhighway, pal. I mean, all our aerobics classes played Techno music!

But the story was still king. We worked on our own time writing those long Sunday Page One features about how the system failed the most vulnerable of us. We gave voice to the voiceless.

We wrote tight and bright when our bosses went to management conferences and learned we all had to write like USA Today.

We embraced the long and winding narrative lead where the nut graph didn’t make it before the jump.

We wrote touchy-feely trend thumbsuckers on parenting when our Boomer bosses started having kids.

When our bosses made us rip a comb through our hair and run an iron over our clothes we chugged down our Joe, spiffed up and dragged our perk-o-lated selves onto televsion spots, learning how…to…speak….using…a….telepromp….ter….um…without….um…cursing…much.

After two decades of the frantic, hectic, adrenalinized daily news life, you expect us to do WHAT now? Podcast and vodcast and slideshows? Yahoo who? Facebook my what? Film it? Blog it? Twitter it? Digg it? FARK it? 

Alrighty then, we say. Bring it.